Instruction from the Lord

Daily Devotional.
InTouch.org with Dr. Charles Stanley

Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Read | Matthew 16:21-24

Pharisees Test Jesus
 1The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven.  2But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’  3“And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?  4An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away.  5And the disciples came to the other side of the sea, but they had forgotten to bring any bread.  6And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”  7They began to discuss this among themselves, saying, “He said that because we did not bring any bread.”  8But Jesus, aware of this, said, “You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread?  9“Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets full you picked up?  10“Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets full you picked up?  11“How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”  12Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Peter’s Confession of Christ
 13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  14And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”  15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  17And Jesus said to him,Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  18“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.  19“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”  20Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.

Jesus Foretells His Death
 21From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.  22Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.”  23But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

Discipleship Is Costly
 24Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  25“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  26“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  27“For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.  28“Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

At times we may struggle with directions we receive from the Lord. We question whether they are from Him because they . . .

Clash with our personal desires. The mother of James and John asked that her sons sit besides Jesus in heaven. The Lord said no to her selfish ambition and called her sons to a life of humble service to others (Matt. 20:20-28).

Conflict with our human reasoning. Some of the disciples expected Jesus to rule as the long-prophesied King. When He told them He was going to be killed by the religious leaders, His words didn’t line up with their thinking about the future.

Challenge our faith. Christ told the disciples that He would be resurrected on the third day (Matt. 16:21). Peter and the others had to accept Jesus’ words even though many people of the day—including some religious leaders—did not believe in the resurrection of the body (Matt. 22:23).

God’s direction may call for courage as well. We see this clearly in Joshua’s life. The Lord appointed him as the leader who would take Israel into the Promised Land (Josh. 1:1-6). Our heavenly Father may ask us to become a leader in our local church, to participate in a missions trip, or to serve those who are hard to love. He wants us to step forward bravely and obey.

Following God shouldn’t involve guesswork. Scripture is a good source for confirming divine direction, as our Father won’t give any guidance that is contrary to biblical principles. Receiving godly counsel from a pastor or mature believer can also reassure us that we’ve heard correctly (Prov. 15:22).

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About jam4JESUS

I... 'will seek [First] the LORD my God, and I will find Him if I seek Him with all my heart and with all my soul.' Deut. 4:29 I... 'shall love the LORD my God with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my strength.' Deut. 6:5 I... 'Trust in the LORD with all my heart, And lean not on my own understanding; In all ways... acknowledge Him, And He shall make my path straight.' Proverbs 3:5-6 I... 'remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you' 2Tim. 1:6 I... 'thank God, whom I serve... without ceasing... I... remember YOU in my prayers night and day,' 2Tim. 1:3 I... am to 'Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let my requests be made known to God' Phil. 4:6 I... KNOW: 'I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.' Phil.4:13 'My God shall supply all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.' Phil. 4:19 'My GOD will never leave me, nor forsake me.' Heb. 13:5 JESUS so loves me, this I... KNOW
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